What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a gentle, effective and recognized system of healing that assists the natural defense mechanism of the body in healing itself. A central principle of homeopathic approach is that every being is unique and the treatment must be tailored to the individual on all levels - physical, emotional and mental.
Homeopathy seeks to heal in accordance with natural laws of healing and uses substances from the mineral, animal and plant kingdoms to make remedies.
THE HISTORY OF HOMEOPATHY
The founder of homeopathy was Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German physician and scholar. Hahnemann became disillusioned with the practice of medicine of his day because of harsh and brutal treatments such as cauterising, mercury treatment, bleeding, purging, and blistering. These treatments were relatively ineffective as cures and caused terrible side-effects for the patients. As a result, Hahnemann gave up the practice of medicine and began to translate medical books in order earn his living. It was while translating Dr. William Cullen’s book “Lectures on the Materia Medica” that Hahnemann found what was to become the key to the development of homeopathy.
In his work Cullen claimed that the substance Cinchona Bark, from which quinine is extracted, cured intermittent fever (malaria). He stated that the cure was effective because of the astringent and bitter qualities of Cinchona Bark – Hahnemann was sceptical of this explanation and tested small doses of the Cinchona Bark on himself. He observed that he developed similar symptoms to those of malaria. After further testing the substance on other people, Hahnemann concluded that Cinchona Bark produced similar symptoms to this disease in a healthy person (one who did not have malaria).
This was the first ‘proving’ of a substance.
Hahnemann went on to experiment with many more substances in the same manner. He observed and documented the symptoms of the provings, eventually collating all the information in a book called ‘Materia Medica’.
LAW OF SIMILARS
Homeopathy is derived from the Greek: Homoeo = Similar, Pathos = Suffering.
The Law of Similars, in other words “Like Cures Like”, is a fundamental tenet on which homeopathy is based. This means that a substance that will produce symptoms in a healthy person will cure a sick person displaying similar symptoms. For example: a person with a cold can develop watering eyes and a burning runny nose. The homeopath knows that the remedy Allium Cepa (red onion) produces these symptoms in a healthy person and will give the remedy to alleviate the symptoms of the cold.
This law refers to the method used to test substances to determine their medicinal effects.
Hahnemann, his family and friends all ingested small doses of many substances and closely observed the symptoms produced in a healthy person. The symptoms included physical, mental and emotional experiences. Hahnemann listed the substances tested and all the symptoms produced by each substance in a book known as the Materia Medica. Animals were not used as provers as they are unable to express their experiences.
The remedies were originally proved one substance at a time and it is not known how they might interact if used in combination on people. In the treatment of animals, however, homeopaths sometimes use combinations of remedies with very good results. Homeopathy uses two main approaches in seeking to help animals: preventative and therapeutic.
HOMEOPATHY FOR ANIMALS
Hahnemann developed his theories on human medicine to a very sophisticated level but he did not neglect animals. The same principles apply in that the totality of signs and symptoms (the “symptom picture”) is our guide for selecting a remedy, rather than the name of the disease. An animal is treated according to the symptoms shown, its behaviour, its build and the specific characteristics of the individual animal, and not by diagnosing or naming its disease.
One aspect that is different from human homeopathy is the fact that animals cannot talk so we have no means of acquiring the detail of subjected symptoms that are important in human homeopathy (e.g. the nature of the pain). However, we can observe and study an animal's behaviour and their reactions to ascertain much of what we need.
The most commonly used potency in New Zealand is 30c. Upon the advice of a homeopath, a higher potency may be prescribed.
WHY USE HOMEOPATHY?
Here are some good reasons!
Safe and effective form of treatment
Effective on humans and animals
Homeopathic remedies have been used successfully for over 250 years
No suppression of symptoms for later reappearance
Diagnoses require careful observation of symptoms
The individuality of the patient is taken into consideration
Stimulates the body to heal itself
Duration of disease is often shortened
No residue to contaminate milk or meat
Contains no banned substances
Can be used safely during pregnancy
Does not interact with any other form of medicine
Recognised as a treatment option by Organic registration companies.